Enoch’s Walk with God
In terms of information that we have about Enoch, he might be called a minor character in the Bible, but in terms of lessons that he teaches us, he can be called a major character. It’s not uncommon in the Bible to find major lessons from minor characters.
All that we know about Enoch is found in three passages. “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methusela. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methusela, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” Genesis 5:21-24 (NASB). “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” Hebrews 11:5. The name “Enoch” is also mentioned in Jude 14-15, but the article will not address that passage. In these few verses we see a worthy example and valuable truth.
Enoch was unique in many ways, one of which is that he was in the minority in three special ways. First, he was only one of two who did not have to go through the physical process of death as we know it. The only other of whom we have record was Elijah who also was taken directly to heaven (II Kings 2). Second, Enoch is one of only two men of whom the Bible says, “He walked with God.” Surely many others did, but he and Noah (Genesis 6:9) were the only people that the Bible specifically gives
that information. The third way in which he was in the minority will be discussed later.
Many practical lessons can be drawn from this worthy example. First, he walked “with” God. In a sermon presented March 22, 1964 to the Hillsboro church in Nashville, Tennessee, the beloved brother B. C. Goodpasture gave an interesting and powerful insight as to what it means to walk “with” God. Based upon the King James and American Standard versions Deuteronomy 13:2-4 exhorts Israel to “walk after” God (NASB has “follow”). Goodpasture said, “to walk after God is to recognize our dependence upon God. It is to recognize God’s authority over us; it is to bow in submission to his will, acknowledge his leadership.” Brother Goodpasture also points out that in Genesis 17:1 God told Abraham, “Walk before me.” Goodpasture explains, “To walk before God is to walk conscious of God’s presence, to walk conscious of his superintending power and might.” But, with Enoch the text says that he “walked with” God. We are not saying that Enoch did not walk after (follow) God, nor are we saying that God was not “before” Enoch. But, the word “with” conveys a close, intimate walk with God. What a special walk that is – a walk where one has a close and personal relationship with God. If we will develop that kind of relationship with God today, we can do as was promised the faithful saints in Sardis, “They will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy” Revelation 3:4.
Second, he walked with God in a time when it seemed that most others did not walk with God. Genesis 5 leads into the account of Noah and the flood. The character of those genealogies Moses recorded, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Genesis 6:5. Those were the peers of Enoch. It is a lot easier to walk with God when everyone around us walks with God; it is a lot harder when most people around us are not walking with God. That makes Enoch a special example. Our corrupt society makes it hard to walk with God, but not impossible. Righteousness can be manifested by an individual when all around him are unrighteous. In the midst of our crooked and perverse generation we can walk with God just as Enoch did (Philippians 2:15). He did it because he was determined that his direction was to walk with God. These factors determined his destiny. Even though the majority of our peers have determined to have a direction away from God, we can follow the example of Enoch. Dealing with that idea Paul exhorts, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” Colossians 3:1-4.
Third, he lived life to the fullest. In an article entitled “A Man Who Did Not Die” in the January 26, 1973 issue of the Gospel Advocate, Guy N. Woods made an interesting observation about the length of time that Enoch lived. Of the nine other men named in this context, seven of them lived over 900 years. The other two lived 895 and 777 years. Enoch lived less than half as long as the shortest life and barely over a third as the longest. But, he is the one of whom it is said, “For he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” Hebrews 11:5. Life is not measured in length, but in breadth and depth. A great contrast is seen in Enoch’s son Methusela, who lived 969 years, the longest of anyone whose age at death is recorded in the Bible. But, when one studies carefully, one finds that Methusela died the year of the flood. Whether that was by natural death, or died in the flood, we cannot determine. He had length, but we do not have record of any depth to his life. Today, it doesn’t matter how long we live. What does matter is the depth and breadth of our life with regard to our relationship to God.
Fourth, he walked with God without written instructions. He lived long before God’s word had been put into any kind of printed form. It is true that God spoke directly to the Patriarchs, but at the same time, they had to remember without the benefit of being able to read God’s instructions whenever they wished. Instructions improved when Moses recorded God’s law. But, even that is so much inferior to what we have today. In America, and in many parts of the world, people have or can have a written copy of God’s instructions for life. What a blessing! Enoch didn’t have that blessing. Not only do we have specific instructions for today, but we have the written examples of those who have lived before us. It’s no wonder why Paul said, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4.
Fifth, he was a great example to his children. Notice that the text says that he was sixty-five when Methuselah was born. It is interesting to note that the next verse says, “Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah.” We may not know for sure what Enoch’s life was like before Methuselah’s birth, but it implies that Enoch was not walking with God. Becoming a parent is a powerful motivator to begin to walk with God. Enoch’s example shows us how our walk with God should be an example for our children: (1) It should be a long walk – whatever number of years the Lord grants us to live, we need to walk with God, (2) It should be a consistent walk. Enoch did not start and stop – it was constant. Methuselah never saw a day in which his father was not walking with God. (3) It was a walk with which God was well-pleased (Hebrews 11:5). As sinful as we are, we can live a life that pleases God. This indicates that Enoch had faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” Hebrews 11:6.
Finally, Enoch teaches a valuable lesson that each person in the world today needs to learn. The Hebrew writer said, “God took him up” Hebrews 11:5. Enoch proves that there is life beyond this life. God has a place prepared for us after death. Death is not the end. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” John 14:2-3. We can go where Enoch went. Life is not just what we have in this body on this earth.
May Enoch motivate us to live for God in this life as we look “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” I Peter 1:4-5.